The world as we know it does not end at the I-10.
While the Village of Ahwatukee may seem like a separate, self-contained entity, we are but a small slice of the overall City of Phoenix pie.
As such, we need strong representation not only for our local concerns, but the rest of District 6, and the city as a whole.
On Aug. 29, we will be charged with an important opportunity to exercise our privilege, right, and obligation to vote when we select our district’s City Council member for the next term.
District 6 encompasses a fairly wide and diverse swath stretching from Arcadia all the way south to Ahwatukee.
Choosing a candidate who not only is conversant with the major issues and challenges of effectively managing the fifth largest city in the country – but who is also receptive to localized concerns throughout the district – is important to both business and community members alike.
Believing that an informed populace is an inherently critical part of the political selection process, the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce, along with its Public Policy Committee, has partnered with the Ahwatukee Foothills News to bring the two Phoenix District 6 City Council candidates together for a Candidates Forum on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Mountain Park Community Church, Pecos Road and 24th Street, Ahwatukee.
This event will provide incumbent Sal DiCiccio and challenger Kevin Patterson an opportunity to offer their evaluations of past City Council performance, present their primary goals for the coming term, and respond to more Ahwatukee-specific issues and concerns from both business and general community members in a moderated and civil format.
In anticipation of this event, we reached out to the two candidates to get a quick glimpse of their thoughts. We asked DiCiccio and Patterson two questions.
“What is the biggest issue that did not get addressed or resolved in the most recent City Council session?
DiCiccio: The budget. Phoenix has a structural deficit affecting everything it does, year after year. That's why I've been calling for a strategic master plan. We need to prioritize City functions from the things that are most important, to least important.
This will allow for greater transparency in our budget, but better yet, it gives the public the opportunity to decide on the right direction for our city. Until we do that, Phoenix is going to continue careening from one fiscal crisis to another.
Patterson: The biggest issue facing the City of Phoenix is our budget. I believe that going forward our City’s fiscal future is going to make or break whether Phoenix emerges as a top-tier American city. The Council just passed a plan to begin grappling with our pension obligations, but we are facing a difficult deficit next year.
Going line by line through the City budget to ensure that we are not wasting precious revenue on corporate and developer giveaways and truly investing in the future and safety of working families is critical to our success going forward. Only then we can develop responsibly, ensure cost-effective housing, improve city services such as emergency response times, and remove blight from our neighborhoods.
What do you consider to be the biggest issue going forward for local small businesses?
DiCiccio: First, I helped create the first in the nation model for 24 hour permitting and inspections and 5-day site plan approval which has helped Phoenix become the fastest city in the nation for opening and expanding a small business – that's going to continue to be the single biggest driver of small business growth we have.
The second thing that I am hyper focused on is our infrastructure for job growth and quality-of-life. In the next three years, we will see most of our roads repaved in our community. You will also see a significant investment into our open space with $26 million in renovations going into South Mountain Park and the creation of a first-in-the-nation bike path that will attract individuals from all over the country.
Patterson: Small businesses in Arizona are facing enormous difficulties in growth and development. Starved of financial backing from large financial institutions who often have minimum loan requirements that far exceed the needs of a small business owner, they also often confront red tape that hinders progress.
Small business has long been the driver of American economic growth, and I want to be their advocate on the Council. We need more competition to challenge corporate monopolies, and small business development at the City level can be a catalyst for this positive change.
The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce has always maintained a strong community involvement and actively supports a variety of opportunities for business and community members to meet and hear from our elected representatives.
We encourage you to join us for what will certainly be a lively and informative evening. For more information, contact the Ahwatukee Chamber at 480-753-7676, or Ahwatukee Foothills News at 480-898-5647.
-Nick Knight, owner of Nick’s Computer Guys, chairs the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee. He can be reached at 480-242-4997 or firstname.lastname@example.org.